Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Audit Checklist

Before you plunk down a few hundred dollars for a professional home energy audit you may want to give things a once over yourself. It’s possible to do a home energy audit yourself to find fixes that can make a big impact on efficiency and ultimately your utility bill.  

Here’s a checklist that will provide guidance during a do-it-yourself home energy audit to help you cover all the major points. As you go through the house check off which items have been examined and what was found. This can help you prioritize fixes and energy efficiency improvements.

Let’s get auditing!

Weatherproofing 

Sealing up air leaks with proper weatherproofing is one of the first things every homeowner should do to improve the energy efficiency and comfort of your house. Below are the things you need to check during your DIY home energy audit:

  • Weatherstripping around the doors to the exterior.
  • Weatherstripping around the door to the gargage. 
  • Gaps around the windows.
  • Gaps in mortar of fireplace and around the fireplace.
  • Gaps along the baseboards.
  • Air leaks at exterior spots where two different materials meet. 
  • Gaps around exterior water pipes and vents.
  • Cracks at ceiling seams. 
  • Gaps around outlets and light switches.
  • Cracks in the foundation.

Insulation

Another easy way to improve energy efficiency at home is by adding insulation. Conditioned air in the home can leak out through the ceiling and walls of the home. There are minimum recommendations for insulation that can change from year to year. Many homeowners are surprised to find their home doesn’t have the recommended minimum. Here’s what to check to determine if you have adequate insulation. 

  • Measure the insulation – if you see the floor joists at all there isn’t enough insulation.
  • Look for insulation on the top of the drop down door to the attic space.
  • Make sure the attic door is properly sealed.
  • Examine the sealing around vents, pipes and ducts in the attic.
  • Check the sealing around a chimney, if needed.
  • See if there’s a vapor barrier installed under the insulation. 
  • Look for insulation blocking the vents.

*Checking the insulation levels in the walls is much more complex and requires that the electricity be turned off. If you aren’t comfortable working with electricity it’s best to have a professional check the wall insulation.

HVAC System 

It’s highly recommended to have your HVAC system professionally inspected once a year. This should catch energy efficiency issues that can be corrected. You can also check the HVAC system yourself if it’s been a while since the last inspection. 

  • Check the air filters at least once a month and replace every 1-3 months.
  • Look to see how dirty the HVAC components are and if there’s buildup. 
  • Determine the age of the HVAC equipment and consider replacing it if it’s more than 15 years old.
  • Examine the ductwork looking for air leaks, dirt streaks and gaps at connections and seams.
  • Look for insulation around ductwork.
  • Check the vents to make sure they are clean and open or closed as needed for optimal air flow.

Lighting

Since 10% of your electricity bill is from lighting, you’ll want to make sure your home is lit up efficiently. Here’s what to check during your home energy audit to optimize the lighting.

  • Check each bulb to see if it’s an old incandescent bulb that can be replaced by a CFL or LED bulb.
  • Examine the lumens to make sure it provides sufficient lighting or can limit the number of bulbs needed to light the space.
  • Look for areas where auto on/off lights can be used.
  • Look for areas where solar powered lights can be used.`

If you aren’t sure if you’ve found issues or you want to make sure every possible energy efficiency is found, you may want to consider getting a professional home energy audit. Professional home energy audits should also include a report on how your home systems and appliances use energy to give you a better idea of what can be optimized. 

No matter who does your home energy audit, Provider Power can supply reliable, fixed rate energy plans across the northeast. Check to see which energy plans are available in your area.

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Smart Device Use in the United States

What smart devices do we use the most in America? How prevalent are smart phones in our daily lives? Let’s find out more about smart devices in the U.S!

United States of Smart Devices: 

The Pew Research Center has been carefully tracking device use in the U.S. for years. We’ve always loved our electronics and innovative technology, so it isn’t surprising to find that Americans are often early adopters that go all-in with device use.

In the Internet of Things (IoT) era, smart devices have quickly gained traction to become an important part of everyday life. And we’re not just talking smart phones. That device has been the catalyst for a wide range of other smart devices that are able to connect and operate using your phone. 

All of these devices use a fair amount of energy. They use so much electricity for charging that the Energy Information Administration (EIA) added small electronic devices as a specific item in the Other Uses category on the 2015 Residential Energy Consumption Survey.

All of these devices add to your electricity bill, which made us wonder how many people in the U.S. have smart devices. And what is the state of smart device use in the United States today? Let’s find out!

What Types of Smart Devices Are We Using?

Which smart device is an American most likely to own? It’s safe to say we have somewhat of an obsession with our smart phones, but there are a lot of other smart devices that peak our interest. 

Smart Phones 

This is clearly the largest segment of smart devices. Although nearly all Americans have had a cell phone for some time, in 2011 only 35% of people had a smart phone. In the Pew Research Center’s latest survey they found 85% of Americans had a smart phone at the start of 2021. Just two years ago, 81% of people had a smart phone. 

Given that 97% of people own cell phones, clearly there is still room for growth that will likely happen. 

Smart Home Devices

There’s a broad range of smart home devices, because people are buying them. A recent survey by ValuePenguin discovered that 65% of Americans now have at least one smart home device. 

But that number will likely grow substantially in the next few years. Between 2018 and 2026 the smart home device market is expected to grow by an astounding 25.3%. By 2025 smart home devices will be a $135.3 billion dollar industry. 

Fastest Growing Sectors of Smart Devices in the U.S.

The devices above have become common, but in a market that’s growing rapidly there are sure to be more game changing smart devices around the corner. Here’s a look at a few smart devices that you’ll see in more homes moving forward. 

Smart Locks

Home security has always been a top priority for homeowners in America. It was only a matter of time before smart locks became common, and it seems that time has arrived. Industry experts estimate that the smart lock market will grow by 12% in the U.S. between now and 2026.

The experts cite several reasons for the growing adoption of smart locks. First and foremost is growing concern over home safety. However, the rise of home automation, IoT and general awareness about the products is also increasing the number of smart locks that are installed. 

Smart Devices for Energy Management

There is increasing consumer demand for smart devices that allow for energy management. Already we are seeing an uptick in smart HVACR (heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration) devices and automated heater controls. Many new builds include these types of features to attract buyers. But based on consumer interest, we may soon see smart devices for whole home energy management beyond the HVAC system and refrigeration. 

Smart Plugs

One of the smartest new devices is actually used to power up your smart devices. The use of smart plugs is expected to grow right alongside the smart devices that plug into them. It only makes sense given that control is a top concern for consumers, and a smart plug lets you turn the power supply on or off from anywhere. 

As Internet access is expanded and more people begin using smart phones, we can expect to see smart device use increase in the U.S. It’s something that the energy sector is watching closely since it will surely have an impact on energy consumption in the U.S. moving forward. 

Want a reliable energy plan to power all of your smart devices? Provider Power offers fixed rate energy plans that make rates more reliable no matter how many smart devices you own. Check to see if Provider Power plans are available in your area!

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